Just as the sex usually alternates in the successive incarnations, so, as a rule, an incarnation with a more intellectual trend follows one more inclined towards faith, then again towards intellectuality, and so forth. There are, of course, exceptions — there may be several consecutive male or female incarnations. But as a rule these qualities are mutually fruitful and complementary.
Other qualities in the human being are also complementary in a similar way, for example, the two qualities of soul we will call the capacity for love and inner strength.
Self-reliance, harmonious inner life, a feeling of our own sure foundations, the inner assurance that we know what we have to do in life—in this connection too the working of karma alternates in the different incarnations. The outstanding stamp of the one personality is loving devotion to his environment, forgetfulness of self, surrender to what is around him. Such an incarnation will alternate with one in which the individual feels the urge not to lose himself in the outer world but to strengthen himself inwardly, applying this strength to bring about his own progress. This latter urge must not, of course, degenerate into lack of love, any more than the former urge must not degenerate, as it might well do, into a complete loss of one’s own self. These two tendencies again belong together.
To be continued
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – REINCARNATION AND KARMA THEIR SIGNIFICANCE IN MODERN CULTURE 4. Examples of the working of karma between two incarnations – Stuttgart, 21 February 1912
Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer, by D.S. Osmond, C. Davy and S. and E. F. Derry.